Helping give thanks

Emily Crowe

CNJ STAFF WRITER

ecrowe@cnjonline.com

More than 150 volunteers joined forces at the Lighthouse Mission Thursday to serve up a hot Thanksgiving meal to those less fortunate.

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson Airman 1st Class Alfonso Hernandez packs a slice of pie for a to-go meal Thursday morning at the Lighthouse Mission. More than 150 volunteers helped prepare meals for nearly 500 people.

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Airman 1st Class Alfonso Hernandez packs a slice of pie for a to-go meal Thursday morning at the Lighthouse Mission. More than 150 volunteers helped prepare meals for nearly 500 people.

Cannon Air Force Base airmen, high school basketball players and community members alike took time out of their holiday to serve steaming heaps of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, and to drive boxed meals to those unable to join the festivities.

“These are the important people, the people that come and help,” said Lighthouse Mission Executive Director Richard Gomez. “It’s exciting to see that even our public school is pitching in and helping out.”

The organization had already served 72 people by 11 a.m., and had delivered 287 Thanksgiving meals to people in Clovis and Melrose. By the end of the event, those numbers had gone to 151 served and 318 meals delivered by 154 volunteers.

Clovis City Commissioner Sandra Taylor-Sawyer has volunteered at the Lighthouse Mission on Thanksgiving for three years.

“The Lighthouse does so much,” she said, “and our community would not be what it is if not for the Lighthouse.”

Taylor-Sawyer said she enjoys being able to talk to community members and hear their life stories while volunteering with her family.

“I think it’s important just to be able to give whatever that you can,” she said. “The big thing for me this year is that I have health to do this. I feel that I’m in good health to be able to come and stand and just share.”

Kelsey Monsaert, a Cannon airman originally from Florida, said she is thankful for her safety, family and being able to live in the United States.

She volunteered at the Lighthouse dinner as a way to give back to the community.

“It’s something good to do and I’m not from here, so my family is not here,” she said. “It’s something to do to enjoy the holiday.”

Clovis High School basketball player and senior D’Anthonee “D.D.” Egbert also saw volunteering as a good way to give back to the community.

“We ask so much of the community,” said Clovis assistant coach Corey Pickett, “we have to show the kids that we have to give back.”

Pickett said the players also collect toys and gifts for a family at Christmas.

“It’s always a good thing to help somebody,” he said. “It’s not all about basketball.”